Build Porch Cost

The average cost of building a porch is $21,440.

In this guide

Pros and cons
Cost factors
Parts of a porch
Types
Labor
Porch. Patio. Deck. What's the difference?
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to build a porch?

Having your own porch isn’t an impossible dream. A porch is similar to a deck in that it’s an outdoor space connected to the house, but a porch also includes a rooftop and may or may not be enclosed.

A porch can be a valuable addition to your home. Not only does a porch look beautiful, but it extends your living space to relax, play, and enjoy the outdoors. Porches also add resale value to your home and can be an enticing offering to prospective buyers.

The average project in the US is a 16’ x 20’ porch with railings 1 and a gable roof. This project will cost, on average, $67 per square foot for a total cost of $21,440.

Pros and cons

Porches help set the scene for a picturesque evening in a rocking chair sipping iced tea, but there may be downsides, too. When thinking about a porch, here are some things to consider.

Pros

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Adds to house value
  • Expands living space

Cons

  • Expensive to build
  • An extra space to maintain
  • Furniture is exposed to the elements

Cost factors

As with any home improvement project, the cost will vary depending on the specifics of your project. Both materials and labor are charged by the square footage, so the larger the porch area, the more expensive the project. For example, labor will cost $20-$40 per square foot, so a 100 square foot porch would cost $2,000-$4,000 just for labor. A larger project and one closer to the US average would be 320 square feet and a minimum of $6,400 for labor only.

Related to porch size are two key elements: height and width. Many porch experts will say that a porch should be about 6 feet wide, but you could have a porch as narrow as 4 feet or even wider than 6, which will expand your furniture options. Again, as the floor size expands, so does the price. Another factor related to size is the distance of the porch from the ground. If it’s above a certain height, you will be required to have railings 1, which will add to your costs. Prefabricated railings start at $50, but that’s just the base cost for materials. If you have unusual architectural features or the porch is an unusual shape, not only will your materials cost increase, but you may have to pay closer to the high end of the labor cost spectrum.

Other factors that go into the cost of a porch include the type of enclosure, be it screened or glass, the type of roof (hip, shed, or gable), the type of siding used, flooring/deck materials, accessories, and paint. In addition, you’ll need to consider the cost of removing any pre-existing deck or porch. If you need to get rid of an old structure in order to make room for a new one, the cost for demolition includes debris removal and starts at $4-$15 per square foot.

Parts of a porch

Clueless about porches? Get familiar with the terminology that contractors and designers use when talking about the different components of a porch.

Walls

Just as a house has walls, so does a porch (sometimes). Depending on your design and whether or not the porch is enclosed, your porch may have one or more walls. These can be made from wood, concrete siding, composite, brick, or stone. Knee walls are short walls, about knee height, that adds a nice aesthetic touch and help protect against inclement weather.

The type of siding you choose for your porch will also impact the cost. Brick or stone, for example, costs $11-15 per square foot for installation, and concrete siding costs $4-$10 per square foot. As with all features, your contractor may include this in the final estimate, as opposed to a line item.

Columns

Every porch has a floor and a roof—the columns connect the two and support the roof structure. The number of columns you have will depend on your design and building codes.

Windows

Some porches have windows, and others have walls made of glass to create a sunroom. A glass-enclosed porch, or a porch with mostly windows, will cost $700-$1,000 per window, and you may need several.

Doors

Enclosed porches have a door that leads into the porch area. Some porches have gates, which serve as both decorative and functional features.

Screens/Enclosure

Not all porches are enclosed, but if you intend on having an enclosed porch, the enclosure material will make a difference in the final price. The cost of materials for screening in a porch are closer to $4.44-$6.93 per square foot.

Many people love screened-in porches, as they are a great way to enjoy the outdoors without having to deal with annoying insects. There are different screen materials available.

MaterialProsCons

Fiberglass 2

Inexpensive, flexibleDoes not tolerate heavy winds

Aluminum

Lightweight, flexible, inexpensiveNot good in severe winds
Vinyl-coated polyesterLightweight and puncture-resistantNot as reliable in strong weather
BrassBeautiful colorHard to install, expensive
CopperEasy to install, develops beautiful patina 3 over timeExpensive
SteelRust-resistant, durable, good in wet environmentsNot as aesthetically pleasing as other options


Foundation

The foundation is a critical part of the porch structure, as it provides the strong base for the rest of the construction. This is particularly important if you are building a raised porch. Porch foundations are typically pier style, as opposed to the excavated and poured or slab foundations 4 that are typical with houses. Pier style foundations use beams to hold the weight of the structure. Foundations cost $5-$8 per square foot.

Deck/Floor

The floor or deck of the porch is built on top of the foundation. The floor can be built from wood, brick, composite, or even concrete or stone. In terms of flooring, there are a few options: pressure-treated wood, composite, brick, stone, or concrete. Brick and stone are heavier and may not be appropriate for elevated porches, and the prices will vary significantly. For example, the material cost of brick is $6-$10 per square foot, and the cost of lumber starts at $7.50 per square foot.

Skirt

If your porch is raised off of the ground, there is a fairly large gap that’s left open. This is referred to as the skirt of the porch. It’s recommended that the skirt be covered with lattice or something comparable so that large critters don’t make themselves at home under the porch.

Roof

There are several different roof types to choose from for your porch.

  • Gable Roof – Very common, the gable roof slopes on two sides and can fit in well with many different house styles.
  • Hip Roof – The hip roof has slopes on three sides and is more like a pyramid in structure—there are no gables. Hip roofs take a little more work to install.
  • Shed Style – A shed style roof is not appropriate for every house. The roof attaches to the house and has a singular slope over the porch. This is a good option for narrow porches, but not deep porches.

Accessories and paint

Some of you may not be able to stop at a simple porch. You may want to enhance your outdoor space with accessories. This includes ceiling fans and electrical outlets. A ceiling fan costs $110-$400, and you’ll also need an electrician to wire the porch, which costs $65-$85 per hour.

Paint is a small, but important, piece of your project. Painting the porch costs approximately $1.00-$2.50 per square foot, but your contractor may include the costs with the total cost of the project and not itemize it.

Types

Just as there are many different architecture styles, there are many different porch styles.

Porch styleDescription
Florida room

More like a sunroom

Fully enclosed by windows

Screened

Fully enclosed

Surrounded by screens

A good choice for areas with a lot of insects

Sleeping

A closed-in porch

Usually with screened windows

Furnished for sleeping

Rain

Low-angled roof

Roof extends beyond porch floor

Portico

Porch leads to front door

Small, not much room for furniture

Loggia

Ornate structure

Open sides

Columns

Veranda

Roof on the front and side of building

Open air

Railings

Lanai

Large outdoor living area

May include pool and patio

Sun porch

Designed for maximum light exposure

Usually has windows

Stoop

Partially covered area

In front of a door

Usually in urban areas

Prefabricated

Sections pre-constructed

Pre-built lumber and railings

Wraparound porch

Can encircle the house

Continues around the corner of the building

Back porch

Similar to a deck

Roofed

Located in rear of house


Labor

A contractor will employ a team of professionals to build the porch. The primary job is carpentry, and the pros will charge by the square foot, usually between $20 and $40 per square foot. With materials, the average price for building a porch comes out to about $67 per square foot. The construction process will vary based on the amount of work required. Detail work, as you may suspect, will take more time than a simple, unadorned porch. That being said, a porch could take as few as 3-4 days or as much as two weeks.

The construction first starts with building the foundation. This can be in the form of brick, stone, or pillars. The flooring of the porch is built in a process similar to decking, and then railings 1 and columns are added. A roof and porch ceiling are also constructed, and, if needed, the porch is painted to fit the house.

Porch. Patio. Deck. What's the difference?

The deck serves as an extension of the house’s space and is often attached to the back of a house; it is usually an open space with railings and possibly steps. An average deck costs about $33 per square foot. A patio, on the other hand is not directly connected to the house. The patio is typically at ground level and may or may not be covered; patios cost between $11-$21 per square foot. A porch is somewhat similar to a deck. It’s an extension of the house, but it’s usually located at the front or side of the house. Porches usually have rooftop covering, may or may not be screened in, and cost an average of $67 per square foot.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Wheelchair ramp

A wheelchair ramp may be necessary for your household, but this will add significantly to your costs. A wheelchair ramp needs to conform to ADA guidelines and will need to be no more than 30 feet long and at the top can be no more than 30 inches high. This can cost $100-$250 per linear foot.

Seating

What’s the point of having a porch if you can’t sit outside and enjoy it? The best way to appreciate your porch is by sitting out there, so you’ll need to make some sort of arrangement for seating. This can come in the form of built-in 5 benches, but you’ll have more flexibility with moveable furniture. Chairs can be as inexpensive as $60 new, but you’ll probably want multiple chairs or even a couch. Porch swings cost $100-$600.

Accessories

In addition to seating, you can also add on other accessories to your porch:

  • Ceiling fan: a fan that is attached to the porch ceiling and circulates air. Ceiling fans cost between $110-$400.
  • Fire pit/Outdoor fireplace: outdoor unit that’s appropriate for building a small fire. Fire pits cost $90-$600. Just remember to always follow fire pit safety guidelines, especially if you have an open fire under a roof structure.
  • Speakers: outdoor speakers start at $75.
  • Heater: outdoor heaters direct heat to a focal point or radiate out from the unit and cost $125-$400.
  • Outlets: electrical outlets provide power outdoors. Electricians cost $65-$85 per hour.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Before you add on to your house, you may want to consider contacting your homeowner’s insurance company. Some policies are set to specific house sizes, so if an expansion may not be covered. You’ll have to work with your agent for policy-specific information.
  • Unless you live in a unique area, you’re probably going to need some sort of permit to build your porch, regardless of if you do it yourself or hire a professional. To get a permit, you or the pro will need to submit plans to your municipal department. The cost for acquiring a permit will vary based on the size and scope of the project and specific municipal rates.
  • With permits come regulations. For example, if your planned project is above a certain height above ground, which varies by area, you may be subject to site inspection from the city or county. Porches also have to conform to the local building code for safety purposes. For these reasons, a knowledgeable contractor is an invaluable resource. Contractors understand local codes and housing regulations so that you don’t have to worry about compliance.
  • As we’ve discussed, there are many, many different porch styles, and every style doesn’t match every house type. You need to consider your house’s aesthetics before you build. A porch that’s looks out of place could deter a potential buyer!
  • While you may consider yourself a do-it-yourself-er, the practical considerations that come along with building a porch may make you think twice about the DIY approach. Building a porch requires knowledge of deck and foundation-building, as well as knowledge of roofing. You would also need to understand building codes. A contractor can take care of all of that for you, while making something you can be proud of.
  • Building a porch can get very expensive, especially when you have so many little things to take care of, like applying for permits and procuring supplies. There are a few ways you can save yourself a little bit of money. One possible DIY aspect is removing the old deck from the porch area, just note that while it’s doable in certain cases, more complicated structures may require professional equipment. You can also add screens yourself if you’re doing a screened-in porch. Another great way to save money is to hire a contractor in their slow season, fall and winter. Contractors usually don’t have as much work during this time and may offer a discount. In addition, you can try and simplify your porch project, since the more accessories you add, the higher the price. Check before you apply for permits yourself, as the contractor may include this service in his or her final bill.
  • Inexpensive doesn’t always mean quality. In fact, depending on where you live, you can end up with more expenses than you anticipated if you go with what’s cheapest. If you live in an area prone to high winds, for example, using lightweight materials can cost you in the long run. Cheaper materials can’t withstand harsh weather, meaning you can potentially face short and long-term damage from nature.

FAQ

  • How much does it cost to build a porch?

It varies based on the style or your porch and the materials, but on average, porches cost between $15,000 and $30,400.

  • How much does it cost to build a farmer’s porch?

A farmer’s porch costs between $15,000 and $25,000 to build, depending on materials and the level of work required for the roofline 6.

  • How much does it cost to build a screened-in porch?

It depends on if you already have a porch to screen in or not. If you already have a porch, it can cost between $2,000 and $4,000 to screen in the porch, but a screened-in porch built from the ground up could cost between $15,000 and $30,400.

  • How much does it cost to build a 20x20 deck?

Deck costs vary significantly, but expect to pay anywhere from $21-$71 per square foot to build a deck. A 20’ x 20’ deck would cost $8,400-$28,400.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Railings: A long bar designed for a person to hold onto, giving them support. They are usually found on the sides of staircases, and can also be found in bathrooms, for example, to help persons with disabilities
2 Fiberglass: Plastic that is reinforced with glass fibers. The fibers may be mixed randomly throughout the plastic, or come in the form of a flat sheet, or be woven into a fabric
3 Patina: A thin film, usually green or blue in color, that forms over time on certain metals (such as copper, brass, bronze, and aluminum) or wood and stone surfaces due to natural oxidation
4 Slab foundations: A layer of concrete, poured over a prepared surface of soil or gravel, that supports a house or other building structure
5 Built-in: An item of furniture, such as a bookcase or set of cabinets, that is built directly into the structure of the room. Built-ins are therefore customized to the room and not detachable
6 Roofline: Construction material, typically composed of vinyl or aluminum, used to enclose the underside of eaves and ceilings

Cost to build a porch varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Algonquin, IL
+19%
Anaheim, CA
+21%
Apex, NC
-5%
Athens, GA
-9%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Bridgeport, CT
+43%
Bristol, VA
-25%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Chandler, AZ
-2%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbia, SC
-10%
Concord, NC
-15%
Conroe, TX
+21%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Durham, NC
-1%
Elk Grove, CA
+6%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Hollywood, FL
0%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Jonesboro, GA
-4%
Kirkland, WA
+12%
Knoxville, TN
+10%
Leominster, MA
+11%
Lexington, KY
+1%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Lowell, MA
+36%
Macomb, MI
+13%
Marietta, GA
+10%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Moss Point, MS
-10%
Nashville, TN
+21%
Oak Park, IL
+40%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Orrington, ME
-30%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Pompano Beach, FL
+2%
Portland, OR
+11%
Quincy, IL
-17%
Raleigh, NC
-3%

Labor cost in your zip code

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